Stressed? Overwhelmed? How’s It Affecting Your Eating?

A lifelong friend just texted me that our current world situation has put her into “a strange mix of fear and boredom.” Maybe you can relate. I’m feeling quite stressed about everything, including finances. “I’m starting to have anxiety about my stress eating.” – SayingImages.com Stress drives many of us to the refrigerator. Even animals. […]

Stressed? Overwhelmed? How’s It Affecting Your Eating?

A lifelong friend just texted me that our current world situation has put her into “a strange mix of fear and boredom.”

Maybe you can relate. I’m feeling quite stressed about everything, including finances.

“I’m starting to have anxiety about my stress eating.” – SayingImages.com

Stress drives many of us to the refrigerator. Even animals. To stress mice, researchers pinch their tails. Yes, it’s mean, but they do it. And the mice run to their food bowls and eat.

But there’s more. Given a choice between mouse chow and crumbled cookies, which do you think the mice choose? You’re right – cookies.

This is explainable if we look at stress hormones. The long-term stress hormone is cortisol, which drives us to eat.

“Stressed spelled backwards is ‘desserts’. Coincidence? I think not!” – Unknown

As for what we eat during long-term stress, remember the mice. Cookies. That has much to do with the brain chemicals triggered by cortisol. The ones that make us desire, crave and choose carbs, especially sugar.

So what can you do, other than gain weight you don’t necessarily want? We need to fight back with different hormones and brain chemicals.

We Can Do That with Foods!

• Eat protein with absolutely everything. Eat it throughout the day. This will do 2 things for you. It will take away the desire for carbs and reduce the mindless carb-munching that often accompanies stress-eating. It will also make your brain produce the chemicals that help stave off cravings.

• Eat wholesome fats (avocados, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, and more) with everything. Eat them throughout the day. Control quantities so you don’t swap one food issue for another. Fats will help you keep sugar cravings to a minimum.

• Take liquid B-complex (all the B vitamins, not just B12). This ends a craving in just a few minutes. [Please check with your doctor to be sure B vitamins are okay for you to take. Not everyone can take them safely.]

• Eat LOTS of vegetables. Keep frozen veggies in your freezer to prevent running out, and eat vegetables throughout the day.

• Put the above foods together as a meal – or a mini-meal if you’re just snacking – and you can change your brain chem and your hormones to work FOR you and not against you.

• Avoid sugary foods. Sure, I’ve said it before, but now is no time to be careless. Guard your immune system. Avoid sugar.

• Exercise! Working out is one of the best ways to deal with stress, anxiety, depression and other ‘off’ moods. I’d suggest daily, but aim for at least 4 days a week.

“If the finish line feels too far away, don’t look at it. Just look down at your feet and take your next best step.” – Melissa McCreery

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